Sunday, April 30, 2006

Y13: Sarah May- have alook at the marking throughout. I agree that your conclusion is weak, but I've given you a few ideas here on how to mend it. Watch your word count and remember the 'different interpretations' thing!

Sarah May - my complete 2nd draft. The conclusion is very weak as Emma has the copy of the A grade essay you gave us, so can i have some help with that please? Its not 3,231 words long.
Sarah- if you’ve loaned Emma the essay, you’ll find copy of it on lightingfoolsPat Barker’s Regeneration ITALICS FOR TITLES THROUGHOUT PLEASE is a novel set in 1917 at Craiglockhart hospital just outside Edinburgh, where those who were directly involved in the war and suffered from neurasthenia were sent for pioneering psychological therapy and treatment. W.H.R Rivers, an army psychiatrist, and Seigfried Sassoon, a soldier sent to Craiglockhart for political as much as medical reasons, are the main characters. Sassoon was sent to Craiglockhart by the government because his ‘Soldier’s Declaration’ was a considerable embarrassment for them, and it was politically more useful to discredit him as writing it while suffering from neurasthenia rather than allow him the publicity that a court-martial would give him.
Regeneration was written in the 1990’s, giving Barker an historical perspective on the events she portrays and this allows her to reflect on the times and the attitudes of her characters with some detachment, allowing her to present the reader with a variety of different viewpoints on the war and its consequences. Barker’s main purpose for writing her novel was to give a fresh approach to writing about the war as she takes her readers through the psychological and social consequences of the trenches, rather than describing the action on the battlefields themselves. The novel presents us with three dimensional, developed characters, fictional and fictionalised, and shows the effects of the war on a variety of people with a variety of civilian and military experiences. The historical Seigfried Sassoon was an educated, aristocratic trench officer in the war, compared to Barker who is a working class, female novelist with no war experience. Sassoon’s poetry makes a very strong point of protest and as he has first hand experience of the war, it is easier to do this. Much of his poetry was actually written whilst in trenches or in hospitals; in fact, some of his poems were written during his stay at Craiglockhart in 1917, the setting for Barker’s novel. Sassoon had a number of purposes for his work: he used it as a method to voice his protest, to create sympathy for the soldiers and, perhaps unintentionally, because it was therapeutic; as Rivers notes in Regeneration of the fictionalised Sassoon and his relatively speedy recovery, ‘writing the poems had been therapeutic’ (page 26). His poetry is short, dense, direct, and powerful and he makes his point very clearly.
In Regeneration, the governing narrative technique is varieties of free indirect style. NICELY PUT Free indirect style is a technique of third person narration, which allows the narrator to drop into a character’s consciousness unannounced, for example in lines like, ‘the net curtain behind Rivers’ head billowed out in a glimmering arc’ (page 11). This tells us we are in Sassoon’s head because, as he is a poet, no other character would think with that amount of imagery and descriptive vocabulary. This line mirrors ‘blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve’ in Sassoon’s poem, ‘The Death Bed’, which shows Barker may have used this poem as an aspect of research for the novel. By using the third person narrative perspective, but populating it with a variety of her character’s own voices by using free indirect style, Barker achieves a great deal. Firstly, she reflects a number of her character’s personalities and opinions; secondly, she allows the reader to experience events of the narrative from a character’s perspective and finally allows her to have more than one main character and gives the reader an intimate knowledge of a number of characters. The critic Mikhail Bakhtin, writing on Dostoevsky, states that, ‘language is constitutively intersubjective (therefore social) and logically precedes subjectivity’, this SUGGESTS that free indirect style is a narrative trick as the dialogue is actually between the author and the reader. are being told the story, by the author, rather than being shown it by the characters, as it appears to be. As Regeneration is a psychological and sociological novel, it looks at the consequences of the war on society and the people in it. Barker examines and analyses the psychological effects of the war by using free indirect style and constantly dropping into a character’s consciousness. By this we can see how the war has affected them, ‘he woke to a dugout smell of wet sandbags and stale farts’ (page 101). This is when Prior has been hypnotised to help him recall what has struck him dumb, Barker drops into his consciousness so the reader can see what he is recalling too. During Prior’s hypnosis, the main literary technique we are shown is free indirect style, this is because without it we would only learn about Prior’s experiences by him telling us about them which wouldn’t ‘work’ because Prior cannot recall his experiences. Rivers and the readers soon discover the extent to which Prior is affected by the war by one, in particular, incident that has happened, ‘what am I supposed to do with this gobstopper?’ (page 103). This shows his callousness towards the war, and how harsh it has made him, because this is his reply when a man he was talking to minutes before, was blown up and he picked up his eyeball. When Prior has woken and realises the incident, he is shocked that that is what had struck him dumb, saying ‘is that all?’, because the war had had such an affect on him psychologically, that particular incident had seemed very minor to him.Timothy Marshall states that ‘the technical resources of narrative in prose (the varieties of indirect discourse in particular) do have an inherent capacity to represent languages other than the author’s’. This comment is more relevant to Barker’s work over Sassoon’s because Barker at least presents herself as a neutral narrator. Although we don’t get Barker’s voice directly in the novel it is easy to see she isn’t completely invisible by the way she presents her characters. For example, Barker believes that neurasthenia was an actual effect of the war, so her characters that also believe this are given more time and credibility in the novel. Prior’s view on this subject is the same as Barker’s, whereas Langdon’s aren’t. We can tell by the representation of these characters that Barker favours Prior. Some characters are given more speech than others and Barker tries to create sympathy for others, from the readers, ‘it was the closest Prior could come to asking for physical contact’ (page 104). This is after Prior’s hypnotism when he is upset and he ‘seized Rivers by the arms and began butting him in the chest, hard enough to hurt’ (page 104). This appears to be Prior’s way of wanting comfort because during the war it was unaccepted for men to express their emotions. Prior seems to be the character who Barker creates the most sympathy for, this could be because they are both from a working class background. As Barker uses free indirect style the readers can tell whose viewpoint we are sharing, by the way they think and what they think, even if these thoughts themselves aren’t introduced as such. ‘Pipes lined the wall, twisting with the turning of the stair, gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine’ (page 17), we know this is Rivers’ perspective because he is a doctor so he is likely to think that objects are body parts. Rivers’ and Sassoon’s vocabulary and the way they converse show their educated discourse, unlike prior Sarah and Ada, where what they say and how they say it shows their working class background. ‘Noting that grove between radius and ulna was even deeper than it had been a week ago’ (page 18), this shows Rivers’ education and also tells the reader we are in Rivers’ head, as no other character would think this way. In contrast, the line, ‘Sarah began to feel green and hairy’ (page 159), shows Sarah’s working class BACKGROUND through Barker’s voice and language as she compares herself to a gooseberry, which is typical of her colloquial discourse. Barker also uses silence as a psychologically – revealing voice, particularly with Prior. Rivers believed that ‘the talking cure’ as Sigmund Freud called it, was the only way to express repressed memories of battlefield experience, when the patient had, ‘usually been devoting considerable energy to the task of forgetting whatever traumatic events had precipitated his neurosis’ (page 26). However, it was socially unacceptable for a man to express their emotions, ‘they’d been trained to identify emotional repression as the essence of manliness’ (page 48), because if they did they would be labelled ‘sissies, weaklings, failures’ (page 48). This left the men bottling up their emotions and feelings and, in the case of Prior, struck dumb. When Prior is hypnotised he, Rivers and the readers finally learn what traumatic event had caused his muteness, ‘a numbness had spread all over the lower half of his face’ (page 103). We also know that it took a while for it to be cured, because he didn’t ever discuss his emotions.
YOU NEED TO LINK THIS BETTER- THE OBVIOUS LINK BEING THAT SASSOON’S CHILDISH STYLE AND ANGRY TONE MAY BE AS MUCH OF AN EFFORT TO DISTANCE HIMSELF FROM HIS OWN EMOTIONS AS PRIOR’S SILENCE AND MUTISM IS.In Sassoon’s poetry there is juxtaposition between the anger and the childish innocent style, that he portrays, for example in ‘Died of Wounds’ there is a simplistic nursery rhyme rhythm, contrasting with the horror of its content. ‘Does it Matter?’ is a satirical and sarcastic and is written in an epic voice and leans towards a lyric voice in certain places. YOU NEED TO DEFINE WHAT YOU MEAN BY EPIC AND LYRIC VOICE. The epic voice in this poem is Sassoon addressing the reader and himself, for the purpose of creating sympathy for soldiers and displaying his views on the war. The lyric voice in this poem is Sassoon addressing himself, thinking through his experiences and working out his fears, feelings and emotions.‘As you sit on the terrace rememberingAnd turning your face to the light.’This shows great detail of how a man in distress might behave, which is where we can see Sassoon’s lyric voice, so these two lines could be a reflection of his own experiences. This poem can be compared to pages 159-160 of Regeneration when Sarah Lumb is walking around a hospital and finds a hidden ward with soldiers who have occurred very bad injuries, such as mutilation. ‘Does it Matter?’ has an upbeat and jolly feel of how to deal with mutilation because it is satirical and ironic, even though it gets across the same points as the section of Regeneration. ‘And you need not show that you mindWhen the others come in after huntingTo gobble their muffins and eggs.’This gives the message that society ignores men who are mutilated, which is the same message given in the novel. ‘If the country demanded that price then it should bloody well be prepared to look at the result’ (page 160), this is Sarah’s opinion of the way these men should be treated by society. She is so shocked by what she had seen and by the way the men are put away in a hidden ward so that no one can see them.‘Glory of Women’ can also be compared to the same extract from the novel as ‘Does it Matter?’. This poem has a monological voice because it is Sassoon’s voice and no one else’s voice appears. The general point of this poem is that Sassoon think women don’t want to see the effects of the war, that they only care when their men are still well or have small heroic wounds.‘You love us when we’re heroes, home on leave,Or wounded in a mentionable place.’This can be compared to Madge in Regeneration who visits her boyfriend in a hospital, for physical injuries. ‘Madge was now sitting on the bed…to bask in the admiration of her resorted lover and to plan what they would do on his leave’ (page 158-159). This shows that Madge does still care about her lover, when he has a wound which shows his bravery but we are unsure whether she would still behave in the same way if he had a bigger injury or was mutated. Barker proves Sassoon wrong in his opinions that women don’t want to see the effects of the war with her character Sarah. When Sarah Lumb comes across the hidden war she believes society should be forced to look at the consequences of the war. ‘Glory of Women’ reveals Sassoon’s prejudices and assumes that women fall for propaganda. Women are excluded from the poem and they don’t get a voice. In Regeneration Sarah does have a voice and she is a lot more sensitive and thoughtful than the stereotyped woman that Sassoon satirises.In ‘The Death-Bed’ Sassoon uses experience of the war as the voice of his character in the poem, whereas Barker has no experience of war so the voices of her characters are based on research.‘He stirred, shifted his body; then the painLeapt like a prowling beast, and gripping and toreHis groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.’This gives the impression that Sassoon is writing from experience because his character’s opiate is wearing off and Sassoon describes how it is feeling in great detail, which gives the readers the impression that he is writing from his own experience of opiate wearing off. EXTEND THIS- TO WHAT EXTENT IS THIS REVEALING OF A GENUINELY PERSONAL, AUTHENTIC VOICE, AND TO WHAT EXTENT IS SASSOON USING THE READER’S KNOWLEDGE OF HIS WAR EXPERIENCE TO GIVE A SENSE OF AUTHENTICITY TO HIS WORK? DOES BARKER HAVE TO WORK HARDER FOR THE SAME SENSE OF AN AUTHENTIC VOICE? He does this by using an epic voice like he does in ‘Does it Matter?’. Aspects of this poem are written in free indirect style, like the novel. The character is drifting between consciousness and unconsciousness, so when he is drifting off to sleep, we hear about his dreams and what is going on in his head because of free indirect style. A point of comparison is the line: ‘Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve’ which is very similar to the line in the novel: ‘The net curtain behind Rivers’ head billowed out in a glimmering arc’ (page 11). These lines are very similar and Barker may even have got the inspiration for this line from the line in Sassoon’s poem.‘The General’, ‘The Rear-Guard’ and ‘To the Warmongers’ are a major point of comparison as they feature in the novel. In the novel Graves has given Sassoon an envelope, after Graves leaves Sassoon opens the envelope with Rivers and inside is a few sheets of paper. ‘On the top sheet, dated the 22nd April, Sassoon had written in pencil ‘I wrote these in hospital ten days after I was wounded’’ (page 24). Following this quote are the poems; ‘The Rear-Guard’, ‘The General’ and ‘To the Warmongers’. ‘The General’ was written in Denmark Hill Hospital in April 1917, ‘To the Warmongers’ was also written at Denmark Hill Hospital on the 23rd April 1917 and ‘The Rear-Guard’ was also written in the same place about ten days after Sassoon was wounded. NOT SURE OF THE RELEVANCE OF THIS. About this poem, the historical Sassoon said ‘he thought I was in severe shock. But if so, could I have written such a strong poem?’. Barker has clearly written pages 24-25 from Sassoon’s real life experiences as the dates mentioned in the novel fit with when he wrote them in real life. OKAY- THIS TIES IN WITH THE POINS ABOUT AUTHENTICITY- SASSOON’S POETIC VOICE AND HIS OWN STATE OF MIND SEEM INEXTRICABLY LINKED, WHEREAS BARKER HAS TO ONLY HER IMAGINATION, NOT HER EXPERIENCE, TO INFORM HER PRESENTATION OF WAR TRAUMA.‘The General’ is written in a very childlike manner which contrasts with the horrendous content. The voice of the character, the general, is very cheery ‘’Good morning, good morning!’’ and implies he doesn’t understand and doesn’t care what the soldiers are going through. This poem is written through the voice of experience and sounds like it could be Sassoon’s voice. ‘Repression of War Experience’ is written in a free verse and appears to be Sassoon enacting his thoughts. The poem includes hyphens which show a stream of consciousness.‘And scorch their wings with glory, liquid flame – No, no, not that – it’s bad to think of the war’Here the character is almost interrupting himself so he doesn’t think of the war.‘Draw a deep breath; stop thinking; count fifteen,And you’re as right as rain….’Again, the voice in the poem appears to be stopping himself thinking.‘The Rear-Guard’ was written about the Hindenburg Line and the soldiers who were fighting on it. It begins with a three line stanza, then a four line stanza, following with an eleven line stanza and ends with a seven line stanza. All have a simple rhyme structure, like most of Sassoon’s poems.‘Groping along the tunnel, step by step,He winked his prying torch with patching glareFrom side to side, and sniffed the unwholesome air.’This poem creates a huge amount of sympathy for Sassoon’s fellow soldiers, like many other of his poems and his declaration in Regeneration.When Sassoon wrote the poem ‘Letter to Robert Graves’ he didn’t intend for it to be published. The poem is certainly a lyric by T.S Eliot’s definition- it is the poet talking to himself in his own voice, to such an extent that Sassoon never intended the poem fro publication I’VE INSERTED THIS POINT- ELIOT WAS THE POET AND CRITIC WHO CODIFIED THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE LYRIC, EPIC AND DRAMATIC VOICES- YOU’LL NEED TO CREDIT HIS BOOK ‘ON POETRY AND POETS’ IN YOUR BIBLIOGRAPHY- he didn’t want to reveal his private side to the public, but Graves published it in his autobiography even though Sassoon objected. It was then withdrawn from Graves’ autobiography, but shortly after fifty copies were printed. So the voice in this poem is A PRIVATE VOICE MADE PUBLIC. YOU NEED TO QUOTE FROM THE POEM TO SHOW HOE SASSOON’S VOICE DIFFERS IN THIS MOST PRIVATE OF POEMS. THERE’S SOME GOOD STUFF IN SARAH T’S ESSAY ON THIS.
This theme of public versus private can be seen in Regeneration too with Rivers. Rivers has a public persona as the steady, reliable doctor versus his private worries, ‘what do you do when the doctor breaks down?’ we also see Rivers’ private trauma. ‘’We-ell, it’s interesting that you were mute and that you’re one of the very few people in the hospital who doesn’t stammer.’ ‘It’s even more interesting that you do’Rivers was taken aback. ‘That’s different.’’ (Page 97).There is also a contrast between Sassoon not wanting his ‘letter’ to be published as it reveals the ‘real him’ too much and Rivers revealing his own trauma in his stammer and his doubts. This is his only private poem, as all the rest were used to get his views of the war across. There is one significant private part of Regeneration which this poem can be compared with. This is page 38-39 when Burns leaves the hospital and lies naked among the trees with animal corpses, ‘he felt a great urge to lie down beside them, but his clothes separated him,’ (page 39). This is a very private past of the novel because none of the other characters know what happened and it is never talked about again. This part of the novel can also be compared to ‘Repression of War Experience’, as Barker may have got her idea for this section from this poem. In ‘Letter to Robert Graves’ Sassoon mentions Rivers and says that he cheers him up, helps him and saves him. ‘And I fished in that steady grey stream’, Sassoon makes a pun on Rivers’ name and a metaphor for him, which is complimentary to Rivers because Sassoon talks about him in a letter to one of his dearest friends. This poem mentions ‘Jolly Otterleen’ who is ‘Ottoline Morrell’ (page 23), and a leader of the pacifist movement as well as one of Sassoon’s friends. She encouraged Sassoon to write the declaration as it will help the war, although it won’t help him.Overall, we can see many comparisons between Regeneration and Sassoon’s poetry, there are many parts of the poems that Barker may well have got her ideas from, such as, ‘Repression of War Experience’, ‘Does it Matter?’ and ‘Glory of Women’. The main comparison is with the voices they use, particularly indirect style as Sassoon uses it too in many of his poems, for example ‘The Death Bed’. Both the novel and the poetry are strong, influential and in some ways very similar, but many aspects are also very different.
YOU NEED A STRONGER CONCLUSION- HAVE A LOOK AT KYLE’S ESSAY WHICH IS ON LIGHTINGFOOLS- AND MAKE THE CHANGES I HAVE INDICATED. MOST IMPORTANTLY, YOU NEED TO LOK AT EVALUATING DIFFERENT INTERPRETATIONS- I’VE TRIED TO GIVE YOU AN IDEA OF HOW TO DO THIS IN THE TEXT OF YOUR ESSAY, BUT IT WILL BE WORTH YOUR WHILE TO LOOK THROUGH THE MARKING OF KYLE’S AND AIMEE’S AS WELL.

4 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's in anothher draft of my essay. about 3000 words near enough. ED.

The novel regeneration by Pat Barker is set in a World War 1 hospital in Craiglockhart, Scotland. Some of the patients featured in the novel are fictional characters and some are fictionalised historical characters, such as Siegfried Sassoon and Wilfred Owen. Barker is a female novelist of the 20th century who is best known for her novels about northern working class women, such as Union Street, so it is perhaps surprising for her to choose to explore the consequences of war on a group of men, who are mostly upper class as well. This allows for Barker to put a fresh approach on the Great War, however she does this using sophisticated literary techniques. Siegried Sassoon on the other hand was an aristocrat who wrote war poetry. Sassoon’s purposes for writing much of his poetry was to show the psychological consequences of war and gaining sympathy from the public for his fellow soldiers. An example of this is Sassoon’s declaration in which he says, “I have seen and endured the suffering of troops…” Barker’s purpose for writing Regeneration was to show a historical perspective of the Great War and how it affected society.
Regeneration is largely about the psychological and sociological aftermath of the Great War, with the only details of the bloody battles coming from the memories, dreams and flashbacks of the characters in the hospital. This allows the novel to be more about the consequences of a battle, rather than a detailed description of trench combat itself. Due to this style of the novel, Barker uses free indirect style as her central narrative technique. This is to allow her to highlight not only the psychological aspects of the war but also the sociological aspects at the same time. To get the social issues across, Barker must feature a number of characters where we can experience the action through their point of view. Free indirect style will often enter the thoughts of a character unannounced and their personality will sometimes invade the narrative space. An example of this is Rivers hearing “the pok pok of rackets”. Free indirect style is affected by the style of the characters and we can experience the action in their own language, for example Rivers’ medical speak and stammer. For example on page 18 of the novel, “Rivers looked down at Burns’ forearms, noting that the groove between radius and ulna was even deeper than it has been a week ago”. As well as wanting to express the views of a range of characters, Barker at the same time she also wants intimacy with her characters to show the psychological aspects of the war. This allows Barker to use free indirect style so that it does not hinder the transparency of the character. Critic Peter Kemp adds that Barker presents so much trauma in Regeneration, “without a tremor of sensationalism or sentimentality”.
Regeneration has a historical perspective on the war, and it was written in 1992. This contrasts to the poetry of Sassoon, which was written contemporaneously with the war. Sassoon’s poetry is not only written to show personal experiences through the war but also as a “political protest.” As well as this, unintentionally, writing poetry helped Sassoon. It was described by Captain WHR Rivers as being “therapeutic” for him as it helped him get through the trauma of the war.
The poems of Sassoon are obviously a great deal briefer than the novel and this allows for a more emotionally powerful text, with more direct, less exploratory feelings and viewpoints. The novel, in contrast has more scope, and multiple characters have to be developed and this novel in particular is nuanced, as it expresses many viewpoints in many voices.
Perhaps we can look at the idea of the multiplicity of voices in Regeneration on three different levels: the varieties of narrative voices themselves, of characters as an index to their social position and the voice of the characters as revealing of them psychologically.
There are multiple narrative voices within the novel as it is important for Barker to let her characters speak for themselves, rather than to mediate them to the reader through a more personal or less neutral third person narrative. These are the narrative voice, the voices of characters socially and the voice of the characters psychologically. There are multiple narrative voices within the novel as it is important for Barker not to include her own voice because of the male characters. However, Barker’s voice is not completely absent from the text. The character of Prior has many similarities to Barker in the fact that they are both from a working class background. Prior is also an invented character in the novel so Barker is clearly not trying to make her voice absent from the text. Also, Barker tends to give the characters who she is more in sympathy with space in the narrative, while characters like Langdon, who considers neurasthenic patients as “…cowards, shirkers, scrimshankers and degenerates..” are not allowed to present their own viewpoints at all as they are not given passages of free indirect style. This is in contrast to the poem by Sassoon called “The General”, who does give us the viewpoints of the generals but these views are not explained to us. Barker has chosen the technique of free indirect style as it allows her to present her characters in many different ways. She wants the reader to understand both the social and psychological consequences of the war and free indirect style allows her to do this. This technique is used especially with the character of Rivers: for example, it is clearly Rivers’ perspective that notes in Sassoon’s speech a stammer, but “…not the recent, self conscious stammer of a neurasthenic”. Without free indirect style it would become difficult for Barker to show Rivers’ real feelings. However it is not just personal feelings that Barker can illustrate using free indirect style. Rivers’ subconscious life is also shown. “Rivers became aware that he was gripping the edge of the parapet and consciously relaxed his hands.” This is also the first time it is made clear to the reader that Rivers may be suffering from war neurosis, as he himself has been traumatised by all the horrific stories he has heard. Rivers also has a stammer but we are told that he has had that since he was young, however another example that Rivers is suffering from mild symptoms of war neurosis is when his stammer gets progressively worse during a conversation with Prior. Here, Rivers has been affected by Priors graphically detailed story leading to his stammer to get worse. In both episodes, Barker uses Rivers psychological awareness to present ideas about his own developing psychological trauma to the reader: a very subtle way of getting difficult ideas across to the reader that would otherwise be awkward to express without disrupting the flow of the narrative.
Barker uses phonetic misspelling and dialect words to draw their characters through the way they talk, for example Rivers’ medical speak and Prior’s strong Manchester accent, which Rivers and the sister show a certain snobbery to, an example of this is “ Out of the corner of his eye Rivers saw Sister Rogers’s lips tighten”. Barker also uses many examples of silence to indicate traumatised patients. This is evident in the character of Prior who is suffering from mutism. Prior writes down everything on paper in block capitals which when read give the impression that he is shouting. There are also many occasions in which there are either ‘pauses’ or ‘silences’.
This is in contrast to “Great Men”, a poem by Siegfried Sassoon. This particular poem is short and very easy to read. When read, this poem also comes across as very pacey and punchy, “ Talk of our noble sacrifice and losses / To the wooden crosses. One of Sassoon’s close friends who was with him at Craiglockhart was fellow poet Wilfred Owen who once described much of Sassoon’s poetry like “Trench Rockets”, as they were usually very quick when read and had a powerful message with them to. “Great Men” is an ironic poem as he likens the Generals in charge of the war as being the “great ones of the earth”. This poem also has an angry theme throughout. In the final few lines of the poem it ends very abruptly with the view that the Generals should tell the dead of their great sacrifice for a good cause in the cemeteries where they are buried.
Free indirect style is the central narrative technique used in the novel Regeneration, however this method is also present in some of the poetry by Siegfried Sassoon. “The death bed” for example features free indirect style. The poem features the thoughts of a war veteran and his dreams where things in the present moment trigger war memories; these however are pleasant memories unlike those of Prior in the novel Regeneration. In the third stanza of the poem there is the line, “Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve”. This very same line is used in the novel Regeneration on page 11 to describe the net curtain behind Rivers. “The death bed” features someone gradually dying and although the dreams of the war veteran started of pleasantly, in the fifth stanza the pain arrives “like a prowling beast”. Death here is also personified, as it is at this point the veteran is close to it. The overall tone of this poem is a sympathetic one to the soldiers involved with the war. Sassoon’s anger of the war comes through in the sixth stanza. “…how should he die / When cruel old campaigners win safe through?” The ending of the poem is a sombre and depressing conclusion. Here Sassoon comments that whilst this particular war veteran may have died, there are still more soldiers dying this very minute.
Another example of multiple voices and free indirect style in Sassoon’ s poetry is in the “General”. It is a very short poem, only seven lines, but it features three different voices. These are Sassoon’s voice, the general’s voice and Harry’s voice. Despite it being a very short poem a lot can be discovered from it. Sassoon’s viewpoint comes across in the line, “Now the soldiers he smiled at are most of ‘em dead”. This is a typical viewpoint by Sassoon as he was opposed to fighting in the war; he also has said similar trivial lines in other poems, including the “Death Bed” and “Does it matter?” The fictional characters of Harry and Jack are fooled by the General’s cheeriness, as we then learn that they are now both dead. Once again, it is a very abrupt ending to a Sassoon poem, and this poem in particular features a lot of colloquial language. This poem overall, is contrasted between the generals cheerfulness and him then sending men to fight and die.
The poem “Does it matter?” by Sassoon also features colloquial language ridicules a serious subject. The opening line of the poem is a rhetorical question, “Does it matter? – Losing your legs?” This is a very trivial way to open a poem, especially as it is about the serious issue of losing your legs. There is a very jolly and happy tone coming across in this poem but also a patronising tone as well. The second stanza begins with another rhetorical question similar to the opening line, “Does it matter? – Losing your sight?” This can be read as a patronising question as the following line is “There’s such splendid work for the blind”. In this poem similar ideas come across in “Disabled”, a poem by Sassoon’s fellow patient and poet at Craiglockhart, Wilfred Owen. The poem is rhythmical and each line is separate and makes sense on its own. There is a very simple rhyming scheme as well, that simply goes A, B, B, C, and A in the opening stanza. This makes the sound of the poem when read aloud very rhythmical and catchy. The poem is full of punctuation also; something that lacks in some of Sassoon’s other work. The overall style of this poem is ironic, because the question is asked by Sassoon, “Does it matter?” Sassoon makes out in this poem that it doesn’t matter suffering severe war injuries, however the irony is that it does matter. This poem was written in 1917 at the war hospital of Craiglockhart and this too is written in free indirect style because not only does it feature Sassoon’s voice but also the voices and opinions of other people.
“Glory of Women”, by Siegfried Sassoon is in contrast to the previous poems I looked at. This is a very angry poem, and is not just about war as it shows anger towards women as well. The style of the poem is monologic. The opening two lines of the poem are very patronising, prejudice and angry. “You love us when we’re heroes, home on leave, / or wounded in a mentionable place”. There is only one reference made in the novel, Regeneration that can be linked to Sassoon’s poetry. This is when Sassoon describes the women making shells to help the war effort. In the novel, the character of Sarah Lumb also does this. In the final few lines of the poem Sassoon describes how it is not only the English that are suffering, it is the Germans as well, despite them being our opposition. During the Great War, this would have been a controversial thing to have said, as Sassoon has a German sounding name. The overall idea of this poem is all about women turning away from mutilation and the real horrors of the war. This can be compared to the part in the novel in which Sarah Lumb visits Craiglockhart hospital. She is uncomfortable to be in the hospital, but this was because she felt disgusted that all this men were put into a secret and ‘hidden’ ward. “She stood there, unable to go forward, and unable, for a few crucial moments, to turn back”. In this passage in the novel Barker has given a voice to a female character to gain a female perspective, this is something that lacks in the poetry of Sassoon.
“Counter Attack” is more of an epic poem by Sassoon. It features some very graphic details of death, and parts of the poem are in free indirect style whilst some are not. The second stanza is not in free indirect style, but the following stanza is. There are several voices in this part, Sassoon’s, a soldier and another soldier who ‘remembers his rifle’. The next 6 – 8 lines are written in the 3rd person, but the last line of the poem is a neutral line and is back to the voice of the poet again. The last line simply reads, “The counter – attack had failed”, a sombre ending to the poem. Overall this is a very detailed account of a failed counter attack which includes some graphic images of death and fear that can be compared to the detail of Prior’s hypnosis experience, however the only difference is that Barker used Prior’s hypnosis scene from research whereas Sassoon used his from memory.
The two poems by Sassoon, “Repression of war experience” and “Letter to Robert Graves” are both very similar in how they can be compared and contrasted to parts of the novel Regeneration. “Letter to Robert Graves” is a particular lengthy poem, it has a political stance which are normally easy to understand but this is difficult and complicated as it features invented words. The poem is in the form of a letter, as it is Sassoon’s own personal thoughts. He never wanted this poem to be published for public consumption, as it was a personal letter to a trusted friend. In the third stanza of the poem, it is almost in a stream of consciousness and toward the end of the poem Sassoon explains how it can’t do happy poetry any more, “All crammed with village verses about Daffodils and Geese - …O Jesu make it cease…” This is a particular important poem as Robert Graves is a character from the novel. This was a very personal poem, as Sassoon never wanted it to be published whilst he was still alive, most of his poetry is public but this is private. “Repression of war experience”, can be also compared to an aspect of the novel Regeneration. This poem enacts the thoughts of Sassoon using free verse. There are parts of this poem that are very similar to Burns’ scene in the woods in the novel. It is possibly likely that Barker took her idea for Burn’s session in the woods from the poetry of Sassoon. “ The sky darkened, the air grew colder, but he didn’t mind. It didn’t occur to him to move. This was the right place. This was where he had wanted to be”.
Overall, a lot of Barkers influence from writing her novel may have came from the poetry of Sassoon. Some of the ideas in the poems, “Disabled”, “Repression of war experience” and “Glory of women” can be linked to certain parts of the novel. Both authors seek to represent the story of the Great War in a more personal and emotional way than normal history. Both authors also put forward their imaginative voice in their work, but Sassoon’s real life war experiences make it easier for him to speak directly to the audience and make his point, whereas Barker has to rely on fictionalised characters to do this. It is also clear that Barker shares Sassoon’s approach to include free indirect style as a narrative technique. Several of Sassoon’s poetry includes passages of free indirect style, although in this case it is likely that Barker chose to use free indirect style for Regeneration as her narrative technique as she thought that it would work best, its just coincidental that Sassoon uses the same technique in some of his poetry.

12:59 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sarah May - here is another draft if you have time to mark it again before tuesday. i hope the corrections are better i think it just needs to sound more clever!

Pat Barker’s Regeneration is a novel set in 1917 at Craiglockhart hospital just outside Edinburgh, where those who were directly involved in the war and suffered from neurasthenia were sent for pioneering psychological therapy and treatment. W.H.R Rivers, an army psychiatrist, and Seigfried Sassoon, a soldier sent to Craiglockhart for political as much as medical reasons, are the main characters. Sassoon was sent to Craiglockhart by the government because his ‘Soldier’s Declaration’ was a considerable embarrassment for them, and it was politically more useful to discredit him as writing it while suffering from neurasthenia rather than allow him the publicity that a court-martial would give him.
Regeneration was written in the 1990’s, giving Barker an historical perspective on the events she portrays and this allows her to reflect on the times and the attitudes of her characters with some detachment, allowing her to present the reader with a variety of different viewpoints on the war and its consequences. Barker’s main purpose for writing her novel was to give a fresh approach to writing about the war as she takes her readers through the psychological and social consequences of the trenches, rather than describing the action on the battlefields themselves. The novel presents us with three dimensional, developed characters, fictional and fictionalised, and shows the effects of the war on a variety of people with a variety of civilian and military experiences. The historical Seigfried Sassoon was an educated, aristocratic trench officer in the war, compared to Barker who is a working class, female novelist with no war experience. Sassoon’s poetry makes a very strong point of protest and as he has first hand experience of the war, it is easier to do this. Much of his poetry was actually written whilst in trenches or in hospitals; in fact, some of his poems were written during his stay at Craiglockhart in 1917, the setting for Barker’s novel. Sassoon had a number of purposes for his work: he used it as a method to voice his protest, to create sympathy for the soldiers and, perhaps unintentionally, because it was therapeutic; as Rivers notes in Regeneration of the fictionalised Sassoon and his relatively speedy recovery, ‘writing the poems had been therapeutic’ (page 26). His poetry is short, dense, direct, and powerful and he makes his point very clearly.
In Regeneration, the governing narrative technique is varieties of free indirect style. Free indirect style is a technique of third person narration, which allows the narrator to drop into a character’s consciousness unannounced, for example in lines like, ‘the net curtain behind Rivers’ head billowed out in a glimmering arc’ (page 11). This tells us we are in Sassoon’s head because, as he is a poet, no other character would think with that amount of imagery and descriptive vocabulary. This line mirrors ‘blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve’ in Sassoon’s poem, ‘The Death Bed’, which shows Barker may have used this poem as an aspect of research for the novel. By using the third person narrative perspective, but populating it with a variety of her character’s own voices by using free indirect style, Barker achieves a great deal. Firstly, she reflects a number of her character’s personalities and opinions; secondly, she allows the reader to experience events of the narrative from a character’s perspective and finally allows her to have more than one main character and gives the reader an intimate knowledge of a number of characters. The critic Mikhail Bakhtin, writing on Dostoevsky, states that, ‘language is constitutively intersubjective (therefore social) and logically precedes subjectivity’, this suggests that free indirect style is a narrative trick as the dialogue is actually between the author and the reader. are being told the story, by the author, rather than being shown it by the characters, as it appears to be. As Regeneration is a psychological and sociological novel, it looks at the consequences of the war on society and the people in it. Barker examines and analyses the psychological effects of the war by using free indirect style and constantly dropping into a character’s consciousness. By this we can see how the war has affected them, ‘he woke to a dugout smell of wet sandbags and stale farts’ (page 101). This is when Prior has been hypnotised to help him recall what has struck him dumb, Barker drops into his consciousness so the reader can see what he is recalling too. During Prior’s hypnosis, the main literary technique we are shown is free indirect style, this is because without it we would only learn about Prior’s experiences by him telling us about them which wouldn’t ‘work’ because Prior cannot recall his experiences. Rivers and the readers soon discover the extent to which Prior is affected by the war by one, in particular, incident that has happened, ‘what am I supposed to do with this gobstopper?’ (page 103). This shows his callousness towards the war, and how harsh it has made him, because this is his reply when a man he was talking to minutes before, was blown up and he picked up his eyeball. When Prior has woken and realises the incident, he is shocked that that is what had struck him dumb, saying ‘is that all?’, because the war had had such an affect on him psychologically, that particular incident had seemed very minor to him.Timothy Marshall states that ‘the technical resources of narrative in prose (the varieties of indirect discourse in particular) do have an inherent capacity to represent languages other than the author’s’. This comment is more relevant to Barker’s work over Sassoon’s because Barker at least presents herself as a neutral narrator. Although we don’t get Barker’s voice directly in the novel it is easy to see she isn’t completely invisible by the way she presents her characters. For example, Barker believes that neurasthenia was an actual effect of the war, so her characters that also believe this are given more time and credibility in the novel. Prior’s view on this subject is the same as Barker’s, whereas Langdon’s aren’t. We can tell by the representation of these characters that Barker favours Prior. Some characters are given more speech than others and Barker tries to create sympathy for others, from the readers, ‘it was the closest Prior could come to asking for physical contact’ (page 104). This is after Prior’s hypnotism when he is upset and he ‘seized Rivers by the arms and began butting him in the chest, hard enough to hurt’ (page 104). This appears to be Prior’s way of wanting comfort because during the war it was unaccepted for men to express their emotions. Prior seems to be the character who Barker creates the most sympathy for, this could be because they are both from a working class background. As Barker uses free indirect style the readers can tell whose viewpoint we are sharing, by the way they think and what they think, even if these thoughts themselves aren’t introduced as such. ‘Pipes lined the wall, twisting with the turning of the stair, gurgling from time to time like lengths of human intestine’ (page 17), we know this is Rivers’ perspective because he is a doctor so he is likely to think that objects are body parts. Rivers’ and Sassoon’s vocabulary and the way they converse show their educated discourse, unlike prior Sarah and Ada, where what they say and how they say it shows their working class background. ‘Noting that grove between radius and ulna was even deeper than it had been a week ago’ (page 18), this shows Rivers’ education and also tells the reader we are in Rivers’ head, as no other character would think this way. In contrast, the line, ‘Sarah began to feel green and hairy’ (page 159), shows Sarah’s working class background through Barker’s voice and language as she compares herself to a gooseberry, which is typical of her colloquial discourse. Barker also uses silence as a psychologically – revealing voice, particularly with Prior. Rivers believed that ‘the talking cure’ as Sigmund Freud called it, was the only way to express repressed memories of battlefield experience, when the patient had, ‘usually been devoting considerable energy to the task of forgetting whatever traumatic events had precipitated his neurosis’ (page 26). However, it was socially unacceptable for a man to express their emotions, ‘they’d been trained to identify emotional repression as the essence of manliness’ (page 48), because if they did they would be labelled ‘sissies, weaklings, failures’ (page 48). This left the men bottling up their emotions and feelings and, in the case of Prior, struck dumb. When Prior is hypnotised he, Rivers and the readers finally learn what traumatic event had caused his muteness, ‘a numbness had spread all over the lower half of his face’ (page 103). We also know that it took a while for it to be cured, because he didn’t ever discuss his emotions. Prior’s silence and mutism maybe an effort to distance himself from his own emotions as much as Sassoon’s childish style and angry tone, in his poems is.
In Sassoon’s poetry there is juxtaposition between the anger and the childish innocent style, that he portrays, for example in ‘Died of Wounds’ there is a simplistic nursery rhyme rhythm, contrasting with the horror of its content. ‘Does it Matter?’ is a satirical and sarcastic and is written in an epic voice and leans towards a lyric voice in certain places. The epic voice in this poem is Sassoon addressing the reader and himself, for the purpose of creating sympathy for soldiers and displaying his views on the war. The lyric voice in this poem is Sassoon addressing himself, thinking through his experiences and working out his fears, feelings and emotions.
‘As you sit on the terrace remembering
And turning your face to the light.’
This shows great detail of how a man in distress might behave, which is where we can see Sassoon’s lyric voice, so these two lines could be a reflection of his own experiences. This poem can be compared to pages 159-160 of Regeneration when Sarah Lumb is walking around a hospital and finds a hidden ward with soldiers who have occurred very bad injuries, such as mutilation. ‘Does it Matter?’ has an upbeat and jolly feel of how to deal with mutilation because it is satirical and ironic, even though it gets across the same points as the section of Regeneration.
‘And you need not show that you mind
When the others come in after hunting
To gobble their muffins and eggs.’
This gives the message that society ignores men who are mutilated, which is the same message given in the novel. ‘If the country demanded that price then it should bloody well be prepared to look at the result’ (page 160), this is Sarah’s opinion of the way these men should be treated by society. She is so shocked by what she had seen and by the way the men are put away in a hidden ward so that no one can see them.
‘Glory of Women’ can also be compared to the same extract from the novel as ‘Does it Matter?’. This poem has a monological voice because it is Sassoon’s voice and no one else’s voice appears. The general point of this poem is that Sassoon think women don’t want to see the effects of the war, that they only care when their men are still well or have small heroic wounds.‘You love us when we’re heroes, home on leave,Or wounded in a mentionable place.’This can be compared to Madge in Regeneration who visits her boyfriend in a hospital, for physical injuries. ‘Madge was now sitting on the bed…to bask in the admiration of her resorted lover and to plan what they would do on his leave’ (page 158-159). This shows that Madge does still care about her lover, when he has a wound which shows his bravery but we are unsure whether she would still behave in the same way if he had a bigger injury or was mutated. Barker proves Sassoon wrong in his opinions that women don’t want to see the effects of the war with her character Sarah. When Sarah Lumb comes across the hidden war she believes society should be forced to look at the consequences of the war. ‘Glory of Women’ reveals Sassoon’s prejudices and assumes that women fall for propaganda. Women are excluded from the poem and they don’t get a voice. In Regeneration Sarah does have a voice and she is a lot more sensitive and thoughtful than the stereotyped woman that Sassoon satirises.In ‘The Death-Bed’ Sassoon uses experience of the war as the voice of his character in the poem, whereas Barker has no experience of war so the voices of her characters are based on research.
‘He stirred, shifted his body; then the pain
Leapt like a prowling beast, and gripping and tore
His groping dreams with grinding claws and fangs.’
This gives the impression that Sassoon is writing from experience because his character’s opiate is wearing off and Sassoon describes how it is feeling in great detail, which gives the readers the impression that he is writing from his own experience of opiate wearing off. This could be Sassoon revealing a genuinely personal, authentic voice or he could be using the reader’s knowledge of his war experience to give a sense of authenticity to his work. If he was using the reader’s knowledge he has an advantage over Barker because she would have to work a lot harder for the same sense of an authentic voice. He uses an epic voice like he does in ‘Does it Matter?’. Aspects of this poem are written in free indirect style, like the novel. The character is drifting between consciousness and unconsciousness, so when he is drifting off to sleep, we hear about his dreams and what is going on in his head because of free indirect style. A point of comparison is the line: ‘Blowing the curtain to a glimmering curve’ which is very similar to the line in the novel: ‘The net curtain behind Rivers’ head billowed out in a glimmering arc’ (page 11). These lines are very similar and Barker may even have got the inspiration for this line from the line in Sassoon’s poem.
Sassoon’s poems ‘To the Warmongers’, ‘The General’ and ‘The Rear-Guard’ feature in the novel, as the dates mentioned fit with when Sassoon actually wrote these poems, we get the idea that Barker wrote pages 24-25 from Sassoon’s real life experiances. This ties in with aspects of authenticity as Sassoon’s poetic voice and his own state of mind are inextricably linked, whereas Barker has only her imagination, not her experience, to inform her of the presentation of war trauma. ‘To the Warmongers’ shows Sassoon’s own enthusiasm for hating those who are responsible for the war. His short, quick and simple rhymes give the poem energy to show his anger to those people.
‘And the wounds in my heart are re,
For I have watched them die’
Sassoon uses a strong last line to leave a lingering thought to the readers about what the soldiers went through. ‘The General’ also includes a strong, highly effective, final line ‘but he did for them both by his plan of attack’. This line is seperated from the rest of the poem to make it stand out. This line is used to give the soldiers a voice to protest, as many of them don’t have their own voice. This poem is written in a very childlike manner which contrasts with the horrendous content. The voice of the character, the general, is very cheery ‘good morning, good morning!’ and implies he doesn’t understand or care what the soldiers are going through. This poem is written throough the voice of experience which could be Sassoon’s.
‘The Rear-Guard’ was written about the Hindenburg Line and the soldiers who were fighting on it. It begins with a three line stanza, then a four line stanza, following with an eleven line stanza and ends with a seven line stanza. All have a simple rhyme structure, like most of Sassoon’s poems.
‘Groping along the tunnel, step by step,
He winked his prying torch with patching glare
From side to side, and sniffed the unwholesome air.’
This poem creates a huge amount of sympathy for Sassoon’s fellow soldiers, like many other of his poems and his declaration in Regeneration.When Sassoon wrote the poem ‘Letter to Robert Graves’ he didn’t intend for it to be published. The poem is certainly a lyric by T.S Eliot’s definition- it is the poet talking to himself in his own voice, to such an extent that Sassoon never intended the poem for publication - he didn’t want to reveal his private side to the public, but Graves published it in his autobiography even though Sassoon objected. It was then withdrawn from Graves’ autobiography, but shortly after fifty copies were printed. So the voice in this poem is a private voice made public. For example, Sassoon uses nicknames ‘Roberto’ and ‘Sassons’ for himself and Robert, whereas in his other poems he doesn’t mention himself, let alone in such an informal manner. He also writes a racist joke as he is only intending to be writing to a friend, ‘Why keep a Jewish friend unless you can bleed him?’ Sassoon doesn’t do this in his public poems in fear of offending his readers.
This theme of public versus private can be seen in Regeneration too with Rivers. Rivers has a public persona as the steady, reliable doctor versus his private worries, ‘what do you do when the doctor breaks down?’ we also see Rivers’ private trauma. ‘’We-ell, it’s interesting that you were mute and that you’re one of the very few people in the hospital who doesn’t stammer.’ ‘It’s even more interesting that you do’Rivers was taken aback. ‘That’s different.’’ (Page 97).There is also a contrast between Sassoon not wanting his ‘letter’ to be published as it reveals the ‘real him’ too much and Rivers revealing his own trauma in his stammer and his doubts. This is his only private poem, as all the rest were used to get his views of the war across. There is one significant private part of Regeneration which this poem can be compared with. This is page 38-39 when Burns leaves the hospital and lies naked among the trees with animal corpses, ‘he felt a great urge to lie down beside them, but his clothes separated him,’ (page 39). This is a very private past of the novel because none of the other characters know what happened and it is never talked about again. This part of the novel can also be compared to ‘Repression of War Experience’, as Barker may have got her idea for this section from this poem. In ‘Letter to Robert Graves’ Sassoon mentions Rivers and says that he cheers him up, helps him and saves him. ‘And I fished in that steady grey stream’, Sassoon makes a pun on Rivers’ name and a metaphor for him, which is complimentary to Rivers because Sassoon talks about him in a letter to one of his dearest friends. This poem mentions ‘Jolly Otterleen’ who is ‘Ottoline Morrell’ (page 23), and a leader of the pacifist movement as well as one of Sassoon’s friends. She encouraged Sassoon to write the declaration as it will help the war, although it won’t help him.
The strongest link between the two texts is the theme of war trauma and the way the Sassoon and barker look at the psychological effects of the war. They also both look at the war in a much more personal and emotional way than is usual in other war texts. Sassoon has the privaledge of being able to write from experience to make his poems stronger and can get his point across very quickly and directly, while Barker gets her point across with research, fictionalised characters and a psychological outlook of the war.

10:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

oh i forgot to say that mine is 3,337 words long now, is that too long? Sarah.M

10:22 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

testing I am a lovely hooverbag

2:27 AM  

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